Softball: Clark Defeats Westfield, 7-4, in Union County Semifinals

Westfield High School sophomore Julia Romano recorded an RBI as the Blue Devils fell to the Arthur L. Johnson High School Crusaders 7-4. Credits: Daniel Collins
Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Shannon Brogan went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and three RBIs. Credits: Daniel Collins
Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Gianna Randazza pitched a complete game and recorded three strikeouts. At the plate, she went 1-for-4 with a double in the win. Credits: Daniel Collins
Arthur L. Johnson High School junior Mackenzie Purcell went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI as the Crusaders secured their second straight trip to the Union County Tournament Finals. Credits: Daniel Collins

LINDEN, NJ – Two regular season matchups between the Arthur L. Johnson High School varsity softball team and the Westfield High School Blue Devils ended in a Westfield win.  ALJ entered Sunday’s Union County Tournament semifinals determined not to let it happen again – and they didn’t.  Johnson pulled out the victory, 7-4, on timely hitting and key plays.

Following a scoreless first inning, the Crusaders offense would take charge in the top of the second. After an error and a walk, sophomore Jenna Addie drove in juniors Nicole Cassano and Mackenzie Purcell to give the Crusaders a 2-0 lead.  

ALJ senior Shannon Brogan tripled on a deep fly ball, scoring both Addie and junior Jen Tinger, making the Crusaders lead now 4-0.

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield chipped away at the Johnson lead as they loaded the bases. Their first run came in after senior Danielle Rinaldi was hit by a pitch. A second run came in on an error, making the Crusaders lead 4-2 after two innings of play.

As the game shifted to the top of the fourth inning, the Crusaders added more to their lead. Purcell cracked a lead-off double, and Brogan drove her home on a double of her own, giving the Crusaders a 5-2 lead.

On the afternoon, Brogan went 3-for-4 with a triple, a double and three RBIs.

“[Westfield] beat us twice and we got revenge when we needed to,” Brogan said. “Now, every day, we’re working towards the county finals, where we’re going to shine.”

The Lady Blue Devils attempted a comeback with a major push in the bottom of the sixth.  

After junior Ally Gulla was hit by a pitch, sophomore Genevieve Howell doubled to set up runners at second and third base with no outs. Junior Natalie Patterson singled to drive home Gulla, making it a 5-3 game.

Sophomore Rachel Rothenberg made it a 5-4 game following an RBI single, scoring Howell. Randazza got the first two outs of the inning immediately following that, but the big play of the inning came right after the second out.

Rinaldi hit a deep fly ball with the two runners on. Cassano ran it down and made an incredible catch to end the inning and keep Johnson out of trouble.

“I was just happy to be able to hold on to the ball with two outs,” Cassano said. “I knew that those runs would score and we would be in a tougher situation than we were.”

The Crusaders added insurance runs to their lead, as Randazza came home on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Victoria Zatko, to make it a 6-4 lead.

“Our mentality this whole week was to go out and get revenge when we had to,” Randazza said. “This was obviously the game that mattered the most and that’s the game we wanted to win and that’s what we did.”

Freshman Megan Tinger doubled, setting up an RBI double from Purcell, scoring the courtesy runner, freshman Lia D’Angelo, making the Crusaders lead 7-4 now. Purcell went 2-for-3 with two doubles and the RBI in the top of the seventh inning.

“Winning this game was great because we get another shot at Governor Livingston,” Purcell said. “Going to play in my second county final is amazing; we’re all excited. I’m ready to be in another one.”

The Crusaders got the final three outs to seal the win and a return to the Union County Tournament finals.

“It’s about the girls,” Johnson head coach Chris Di Nucci said. “They worked their tails off and they handle adversity really well throughout the entire season. It showed today. Westfield is a good softball team and they weren’t going to quit, they were going to continue fighting and they showed in the bottom of the sixth inning.”

“It’s a credit to the girls, they work hard and we’re excited to be in the finals,” Di Nucci added.

The Lady Blue Devils not only saw their Union County Tournament run end in the semifinals for the second straight season, but Sunday’s loss also ended an 11-game winning streak.

“We didn’t make all the defensive plays we could’ve made and we didn’t get a couple of hits we probably needed to get,” Westfield head coach Caitlin MacDonald said. “Johnson did a great job today. They hit with runners in scoring position, they made defensive plays to shut things down, got a lot of first outs with the first batters up. They did their job today and we fell short in some areas.”

The two teams faced off in last year’s Union County Tournament semifinals, with Johnson winning 12-1.

The Crusaders (12-7) play their next regular season game at home for Senior Day against Metuchen HS Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. They advance to the Union County Tournament Finals on Saturday, May 13, where they will take on Governor Livingston HS in a rematch from last year at Kean University at 2 p.m.

Westfield (12-3) will go back out on the road for a regular season game at Somerville Monday afternoon at 4 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Plainfield Man Dead, Scotch Plains Woman Critically Injured in Shooting

June 25, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ — A shooting that left a Plainfield man dead and a Scotch Plains woman seriously injured in Plainfield late Saturday is under investigation, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Sunday.

The deceased victim has been identified as Michael Welsh, 34, of Plainfield.

Plainfield Police Division patrol units responding to a ShotSpotter gunshot ...

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting on June 19

June 22, 2018

I opened the Board meeting on a somber note, announcing the death of sophomore student Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel.  Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over his death.  We extend our condolences to the Uziel family.  I noted that school counselors are available for all students or staff who may wish to discuss their feelings ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, June 26, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...



Wed, June 27, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...



Thu, June 28, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...


Westfield Police Blotter: Criminal Mischief to Vehicles Continues & More

June 20, 2018

June 13, 2018 9:24 a.m.

Officer Santangelo arrested Hakan Kaya, age 46, of Westfield, New Jersey on an outstanding warrant (#E19490) in the amount of $304.00 out of Neptune City Municipal Court pursuant to turning himself in at WPD Headquarters. Subject was processed and released after posting the full bail amount.


June 13, 2018 11:02 a.m.

Lieutenant McFarlean and Officer ...

Rotary Club Scholarship Awards Ceremony Luncheon

June 25, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Philip Salerno, president of the Rotary Club of Westfield, convened the 97-year-old service organization’s annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony Luncheon on June 12 at the Westfield Area Y announcing that 18 college-bound Westfield students, would be the recipients of scholarships totaling $98,000.

Rotarian Carl Peer, chairman of this year’s scholarship ...


AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

Summertime Air Quality Issues

Summer weather can be harmful to your health due to air pollutants like ozone, mold, and moisture that are more prevalent both inside and outside than they are during cooler months. 

Sunny days, warm temperatures, and light winds don’t allow pollutants to be cleared from outside air. Instead, they encourage the formation of ozone, a leading air pollutant.  Ozone is ...

Understand the New Law for Paid Sick Leave

Paid sick leave is now the law in New Jersey.

New Jersey has passed a paid sick leave law which preempts paid sick leave ordinances adopted by several cities and towns so there is now one uniform law in this area for New Jersey employers. Here is what you need to know about the new law.

33 Homes Sold June 10 to June 17 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside & Cranford

Thirty-three Homes sold from June 10 to June 17, 2018, in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside.*


TOWN         ADDRESS                      STYLE    ...

Westfield 3rd Graders Receive Top Honors at Mock Trial Competition

Westfield third graders recently received top honors for three mock court cases they presented at the New Jersey Bar Foundation Law Fair.

“I am proud that, out of 84 entries submitted, our third grade students (now fourth graders) in the Gifted Program have won 1st Place, 2nd Place and Honorable Mention in the 3rd Grade category [of the Law Fair ...

Maximizing Your Portfolio’s Returns -- Beware the Taxman

The old adage in the investment world is that it is not what you make, but what you keep that counts.  Investors often overlook the ultimate deflator of portfolio returns – the taxman. An astute global asset allocation should be the number one priority for investors.  However, there are preferred ways to distribute this asset allocation over the spectrum of taxable and ...


In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

Healthy U Spring Symposium Marks 10 Years of Community Impact

WESTFIELD, NJ — More than 100 Healthy U champions and partners from YMCAs and schools from all over the state gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on May 18 to celebrate 10 years of community impact. Healthy U was also formally presented with the 2017 CATCH® Award for Excellence in State Health. 

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is the ...

Bridgewater Mall Shut Down for 2 Hours After Fight Breaks Out

June 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — No injuries have been reported after a fight involving a crowd of people shut down the Bridgewater Commons Mall for two hours Thursday evening.

According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall was resuming normal business operations.

According to Somerset County ...


Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more